Sesquicentennial, Carmi, Illinois,
ILLINOIS HSSTORICAL SURVEY;
JliJMO'S HISTORICAL SURVEY
Published by the Carmi Sesquicentennial Commission, Inc.
J. Robert Smith, President
C. F. Rebstock, Vice President
Mrs. Allen Ball, Secretary
William F. Sharp, Treasurer
Mrs. Douglas J. Ames, Sr.
Mayor Laurence Boehringer
Mrs. R. C. Brown
James Robert Endicott
Sam B. Hart
Sam A. Hassan
Mrs. Ray A. McCalhster
Mrs. Edwin Stocke
Mrs. Fred J. Reinwald, Chairman
Mrs. Robert Ready Williams.
Mrs. Henry Lichtman
Mrs. Hazel K. Munsey
Mrs. Henry J. Karch
Miss E. Wave Jamerson
Business and Professional Women's Club
This souvenir booklet of Canni's 150th birthday was made possible by many enthusi-
astic people — those who graciously loaned old pictures, women who collected the photos, the
staff of the Carmi Times, the sponsors, members of the Business and Professional
Women's Club, who enlisted the support of the sponsors, and the author, J. Robert Smith.
iu/miiAe^ dow^H' i^ne decadei , . .
HOULD YOU ASK ME, whence these stories; whence
these legends and traditions — of the pioneer in buckskin;
with the hitching racks and ox teams; of the cobblestones and candles,
and the grinding o± the com mill — ^where the Little Wabash wanders in and
out of old White County?
I should answer, I should tell you : from the eager lips long silent ;
from the hist'ry of the county, from the vaults where ledgers moulder;
from the files of crumbling papers.
Here we read and pored and pondered; read some more and then
recorded. We repeat them as we found them, all these stories and tradi-
Now we cherish, save and guard them.
Your Sesquicentennial book is not a history.
Although it starts before the beginning of Carmi, no attempt was
made to write a complete chronological story about people and events of the
past 150 years.
We present here a few glances backward down the decades ; attempting
to preserve in words and pictures the ways of life of dear hearts and gentle
people — our ancestors.
AM 150 years old, and you are
Oh, how the years have sped by !
I was bom in a wilderness, beside a
meandering stream. Attending my birth
were pioneers in buckskin, linsey-woolsey
and calico. They walked and rode horse-
back from Carolina, Kentucky, Pennsyl-
vania and Virginia.
I was born in Lowry Hay's log cabin
near the Little Wabash River. It was
February 8, 1816 — a cold, raw day. The
winter wind moaned through cracks in the
cabin. Close by, the grist mill's water
wheel creaked as it turned.
My christening came on a bright April
day. On the sixteenth people met at the
log house of John Craw. Dr. Josiah Stew-
art was there. With him were Daniel and
Lowry Hay. Leonard White arrived. The
county had been named for him. Now it
was time to name the town — me!
I am told that many names were sug-
gested. Just who opened the Bible I do not
know. Perhaps it was the Rev. John C.
Slocumb, a Methodist minister. Genesis
46:9 .. . Exodus 6:14 . . . Numbers 26:6
. . . Joshua 7:1, 18 . . . First Chronicles 2:7,
4:1, 5:3. In all those passages one finds
the name of the son of Reuben, the grand-
son of Jacob, the nephew of Joseph.
And so, a log cabin settlement in the
forest was named Carmi.
Who am I ? For what do I stand ?
I am more than 6,000 people, and the
spirit of thousands of others who lived,
labored, loved and died here the past 150
years. My sons and daughters remember
me with affection as they have gone out
to the far places of the world. Many return
to visit or retire.
I am a log village on a muddy, rutted
road, and a modem city with wide, paved
streets. My way has been lighted dowTi the
decades by pine knots, candles, kerosene,
gas and electricity.
I can still hear the whirring wheel
spinning flax and wool ; the clicking loom
weaving linsey-woolsey; creaking wagons
drawn by oxen; hoof beats of circuit
riders' horses ; the lonely howl of the tim-
ber wolf ; the coachman's horn as the stage
approaches ; the whistle of steamboats on
the Little Wabash.
I can still smell venison roasting on
the spit; corn bread baking on the coals;
hickoiy burning in the fireplace.
My first settlers told me about the
violent earthquakes of 1811 and 1812; how
the ground shook and rocked and then
rolled like waves of the sea. They told me
about the "harraken" of 1815 — a cyclone
that mowed down the forest in a path a
I remember November 12, 1833, "the
night the stars fell," when the wife of
Chief Justice William E. Wilson went out-
side to gaze in wonder ; to wash her hands
and face with stars, as though they had
been snow flakes, then bathed her baby's
face with Stardust.
I am the Little Wabash River and
Shipley Hill; 'Possum Road and the old
Shavraeetown Trail ; the tan yard and dis-
tillery and pioneer ferry.
I am Joseph Pomeroy and Benjamin
R. Smith; Doctors Josiah Stewart and
Thomas Shannon, Daniel P. Berry and
William Brimble-Combe, Frank Sibley and
R. C. Brown; Lieutenant Governor Wil-
liam H. Davidson and Attorney General
Ivan A. Elliott.
I am Willis Hargrave, who rode horse-
back from Equality to find my birthplace,
and Chamber of Commerce President
Albert W. McCallister, who flies to distant
cities to look after my interests.
I remember the men enlisting for the
Black Hawk and Mexican wars ; the excite-
ment and sadness of the Civil War; the
Spanish war volunteers of 1898 ; the troop
trains of 1917; the casualty lists of the
1940's and 1950's. And now, Vietnam!
I am Ratcliff Inn and the Damron
House; the Robinson home and the Old
Graveyard; the Reinwald and Ziegler
stave factory and the Staley mill; the
Ainsbrooke Corporation and Sterling
Aluminum; the Innovation and Burrell's
You can look at me and see State Sen-
ator Edwin B. Webb crossing the dusty
street to board a stagecoach for Spring-
field; U. S. Senator John M. Robinson
riding in the fancy brougham he bought in
I am the Home Culture Circle start-
ing a library in 1898; the Thursday and
Friday clubs of years gone by ; the D.A.R.
and its Memorial Circle in the Old Ceme-
I am Colonel John M. Whiting and
General Frederick J. Karch ; Congressmen
John M. Crebs, James R. Williams,
Orlando Burrell and Roy Clippinger;
Ephraim Joy and Charles Berry; Dr.
Elam Stewart, my first mayor, and Laur-
ence Boehringer, the present mayor;
Nathaniel Holderby and Roy E. Pearce.
I am Colonel Everton Conger captur-
ing John Wilkes Booth and C. F.(Bud)
Rebstock bringing a new industry to town ;
William Stewart, long at rest in the Old
Graveyard, and Herbert G. Bayley, devo-
ting years to civic work.
I am Benjamin St. John and John G.
Powell, Adam Miller and North Storms,
Doctors J. I. Spicknall and Ray McCallis-
ter, A. S. Rudolph and Edwin Stocke. I am
Frank J. Foster and Allen Ball.
I can still hear Abraham Lincoln
speaking in Stewart's Grove in 1840; the
eloquence of William Jennings Bryan
down by the depot in 1896; the Missouri
twang of Harry Truman beside the court-
house in 1948; the clipped sentences of
Dwight Eisenhower at the back of the
campaign train in 1948.
I remember the covered bridge of
1840 ; the flood of 1913 ; the tornado's roar
I am the Historical Society saving Rat-
cliff Inn ; the Kiwanis Club on Corn Day ;
the Rotary Club at its annual barbecue;
the Lions Club at its hamburger stand at
the White County Fair.
Yes, I am 150 years old — but I am
The past has been gracious and good,
but my eyes are on the future. I cherish
the past but look forward eagerly to my
next 150 years.
What will I be in the year 2116?
Look in the mirror.
There is your answer.
?<^^£e tne veQMvnt/nO'
ONG BEFORE there was a
Carmi, Indians lived here.
Through their village ran a trail to a
ford in the river. Eastward it went
through tall prairie grass to the Ouabache
River. Westward it plunged into the deep,
dark forest; forked southward to La
Belle Riviere and west to the Mississippi.
Braves loafed in the sunshine. Squaws
skinned deer, tended fires, carried water
from the stream, worked in corn rows,
picked pumpkins and squash. Children
played with dogs and splashed in the
Shawnees, Piankeshaws and Potawa-
tomis prowled prairie and forest, as free
as foxes and deer. They left the land un-
changed. The river ran crystal clear, swift
and deep. The forest remained uncut, un-
Giant oaks, maples, walnuts, chest-
nuts, sycamores and sweet gums reared
skyward. They were so dense they shut
out the light ; left the forest floor in green
shadow. Grape vines as big as a man's
thigh snaked high into the trees.
This place was wildly beautiful. Whip-
poorwills called. Beavers built dams.
Wolves howled. Passenger pigeons flew in
flocks of millions. There were deer and
bears in abundance.
East of the river, prairie grasses rip-
pled as the waves of the sea. In spring-
time the prairies glowed with scarlet lilies,
yellow cowslips, sweet William and violets.
When the bluestem and Indian grasses
grew in the summer sun they were high
enough to hide a man on horseback.
From the Ouabache River the prairie
sea rolled westward to the Petite Oua-
bache, then stopped — right here!
West of the river was the forest sea —
a mighty green ocean of trees, billowing
and rolling in the ridges, hills and knobs
of southern Illinois.
To the Indians, this land was beauti-
ful, bountiful and old . . . old.
To the pioneers pushing westward, it
was wild, bleak and — new !
mST CAME the trappers and
hunters, seeking fur and game.
And then the land-lookers, wanting to
settle. Daniel Bain, a Revolutionary War
soldier from Virginia, pushed into this
area in 1806. He sired 18 children; was
step-father of six more.
Others built on the Big Prairie —
Peter Kuykendall in 1808; Robert Land,
Thomas Miller, Henry Jones, James Gar-
rison, Thomas Gray and the Rev. Daniel
McHenry in 1809.
Isaac Veach arrived that year. He
turned his back on the prairie ; crossed the
Little Wabash ; built his cabin on the bluff
overlooking the river. It stood just south
of what is now Carmi's Main Street bridge.
People kept arriving at Big Prairie.
In 1810, John Hanna, Captain William Mc-
Henry, Benjamin Mobley, Daniel Boulting-
Perhaps they laughed at Isaac Veach.
Why didn't he choose rich, level land?
Why build a home at the edge of the for-
Most land-lookers wanted not only
good soil but running water. They sought
locations beside a river or creek. That is
where towns were started.
The year 1811 was one of trouble and
terror. Indians were killing and scalping.
Tecumseh was trying to unite all tribes for
war. "This is our land," he told General
William Henry Harrison at Vincennes.
Potawatomis started scalping in Illi-
nois. Gen. Harrison planned an invasion
of Indian territory. People on the prairie
hurried to build blockhouses for protec-
tion. Frightened families fled to these
forts built by Robert Land, John Hanna,
Capt. William McHenry, Hardy Council,
Aaron Williams and John Slocumb.
Going to their com patches, men car-
ried guns; leaned them against stumps.
They armed themselves before shepherd-
ing their families to worship services in
log cabin homes.
The attacks did come. In one raid on
a cabin near here Indians killed two men
and wounded four.
A flaming comet swept the skies that
summer. Worried settlers gazed in awe
FIERY SKY, TREMBLING EARTH
Then came that terrifying December
It was 2 a.m. Monday. Settlers slept.
Suddenly, the earth shook. Cabins
shuddered. Logs creaked. Cradles rocked.
Chimneys cracked. Bells rang. Clocks stop-
ped. Dishes crashed.
Cattle bawled. Dogs howled. Horses
People fled from their cabins; hud-
dled in the cold. Parents prayed. Children
The ground rolled in waves. Trees
blew up, cracked, split, fell by the thous-
ands. When earth waves hit the tall tim-
ber, forest giants weaved their tops togeth-
er, interlocked their branches, sprang back
and cracked like whip lashes.
The earth rumbled, roared, split open,
raised in some places, sank in others. On
the prairie, snow-white sand shot up like
Along the Wabash and Little Wabash
Rivers banks caved in. Trees toppled into
the water. Mrs. Edward McCallister hur-
ried her children into a dugout canoe,
pushed it into the Wabash River. Violent
waves forced her to struggle back to the
The earth shook all night and the fol-
lowing day. Tremors continued for three
months, with massive shocks January 23
and February 7.
The praying pioneers didn't know it,
but they had experienced the heaviest
earthquake ever to shake the American
continent. It shook 1,000,000 square miles ;
rang church bells in Boston ; toppled chim-
neys in Charleston, S. C. ; frightened peo-
ple in New Orleans, Washington, D. C,
Louisville and Cincinnati.
WAR BREAKS OUT
While the earth still trembled Indians
harried the countryside. The War of 1812
broke out. A company of mounted U. S.
Rangers rode into the area ; built a block-
house ; guarded the settlers for two years.
Men named Williams and Weed
arrived here in 1812. They looked at
Veach's cabin on the river bluff and liked
the location. They felled trees, burned
brush, built a log dam and ci-ude water
mill, opened a trading post, started a tan-
nery, added a distillery.
Until then the closest mill was at New
Haven. Now, from miles around people
came to the new mill on the Little Wabash.
They brought their com by canoe, on
horseback and on foot.
The late W. D. Hay talked with a
Wayne County man whose people traveled
to the Williams and Weed mill seven years
before there was a Wayne County.
A certain settler, tired of pounding his
com into meal by hand in an Indian mor-
tar, walked more than 30 miles to the mill,
carrying a bushel of corn strapped on his
It took three days to make the round
trip. He spent two nights alone in the
woods ; killed and cooked food when hun-
gry, arrived home tired but happy.
Beside the mill, the tannery was turn-
ing out leather. The distillery was pro-
ducing whisky. The trading post was ex-
changing powder, lead, liquor, coffee and
calico for corn, coonskins, venison hams,
deerskins, ginseng and hogs.
News of this activity reached New
Haven, Shawneetown and Equality.
"Hmm-m-m," said folks down there, "is a
new settlement about to start in our
LEADERS WERE WAITING
Leaders of men were living at Equal-
ity, Shawneetown and the U. S. Saline in
those days. Fortunes were being made and
lost at the salt works. Waves of migration
rolled westward, swept through the Wil-
derness Road and down the Ohio River in
Shawneetown was the principal port
of entry into the vast Illinois Territory.
Among the impoverished pioneers were
men of substance and education. They
became the natural leaders.
There was Captain Leonard White,
U. S. agent at the Saline ; former postmas-
ter there ; erstwhile judge of the court of
James Ratcliff, a Virginia gentleman,
succeeded White as postmaster.
Ratcliffs father-in-law was Colonel
Willis Hargrave. Governor Ninian Ed-
wards appointed him commander of the
4th Regiment militia. His property
included numerous slaves.
In the frontier excitement of Shaw-
neetown, Equality and the U. S. Saline one
could find Joseph Pomroy, John Craw,
Lowry Hay and his nephew, John; Har-
grave's sons, George and Samuel ; his sons-
in-law, Ratcliff, Benjamin White and
James A. Richardson.
There was talk at Kaskaskia that the
Territorial Assembly was going to divide
Gallatin County. Well! That would mean
a new county seat.
Big plans were soon afoot. Leonard
White and Lowry Hay got their heads
together. They formed some sort of part-
nership. Hay and his nephew, John, took
over the Williams and Weed mill, tannery
White built a log storehouse near
Hay's mill. George Hargrave started a
John Craw built a two-room log house
back in the woods. (This is now the en-
larged, beautified home of Miss Mary Jane
On October 16, 1814, John Hay en-
tered the northeast quarter of Section 13.
Through it ran the Little Wabash River.
On it stood the mill, tannery, distillery;
the log homes of Craw and Veach; the
White-Hargrave store. (The greater part
of Carmi now occupies Section 13.)
OWNERS WERE WHITE AND HAY
It was soon learned that Lowry Hay
and Leonard White were the joint proprie-
tors of the proposed town site. On Nov.
29, 1815, Willis Hargrave bought 40 acres
in Section 13 and 40 in Section 14.
More and more people were coming to
trade and have their com ground. The
place had no name. Settlers said they were
going to Hay's Mill or to Hargrave's store.
And then it happened. On December 9,
1815, White County was created. Governor
Edwards appointed the officials for the
Judges of the County Commissioners
Court, Willis Hargrave, Joseph Pomroy
and the Rev. John C. Slocumb;
County clerk and recorder, James Rat-
Commissioners to fix the seat of ju!
tice. Margrave's sons-in-law, Ratcliff an 1
Benjamin White ; Stephen E. Hogg an I
Colonel of the 5th Regiment count,
militia, Willis Hargrave;
Surveyor, Lowry Hay; sheriff, Ben-
jamin R. Smith; justices of the peace.
Lowry Hay, William Nash, the Rev. Dan-
iel McHenry, Stephen Standly, Thomas
Rutledge, Edmond Covington, Moses
Thompson and Thomas Randolph.
It was all set. Hay, White and Har-
grave owned 220 acres. The grist mill was
busy. Cabins were going up. Why, the
place would soon rival New Haven as a
About this time Daniel Hay was on
the move again. The 34-year-old Virginian
was dissatisfied with life in Butler County,
He had a growing family; told his
wife, Priscilla, he longed to go to the Illi-
nois country, perhaps as far north as the
In the winter of 1815-1816, Hay sad-
dled his horse, bid his family farewell and
rode northward. He would explore the new
land, decide on a location, then return for
He crossed the river at Shawneetown ;
rode on to Equality. In the French settle-
ment he paused to listen to men talking
about a new county being organized. It
was named for Leonard White. And there
was Captain White!
Yes, he said he already had interests
up there. On the Little Wabash River he
and Lowry Hay had a mill going. They
had entered land; were going to build a
town — a county seat!
Why not settle there? Go along with
Hay then talked with Willis Hargrave.
Forget the Sangamon, Hay was advised.
Get in on the ground floor of this venture.
We're leaving soon.
One of Ci \\ I
Revolutionary War soldier who served in the company of his
father, Captain Matthew Stewart. The family left North Carolina
and settled near Marion, Kentucky, before coming to Carmi. Wiir
liam Stewart was the father of Dr. Josiah Stewart and grandfather
of Dr. Elam L. Stewart, Carmi's first mayor. He died in 1856 at
the age of 93 and is buried in the Old Graveyard.
EIGHT MEN RIDE NORTHWARD
It was a cold winter morning in 1816.
Eight men on horseback rode out of Equal-
ity; took the trail toward New Haven.
Daniel Hay was with them. Col. Hargrave
led the way, followed by Capt. Leonard
White ; Margrave's sons, George and Sam-
uel; sons-in-law, Benjamin White, James
A. Richardson and James Ratcliff.
It was a long ride. Perhaps they dis-
mounted at New Haven for rest and
refreshments; talked with Joseph Boone,
Samuel Dagley and Paddy Robinson; then
pushed onward up the snowy trail.
Dusk or darkness must have fallen by
the time they arrived at Hay's mill. Tired
horses whinnied at the sig^t of candle
light, the smell of feed.
Weary riders were cheered to see
smoke spiraling from cabin chimneys ; to
think of hot com bread and venison stew.
Cabin doors opened. People ran out to
welcome the new arrivals; ask for news
from the outside world.
Now ! A county seat must be selected.
Guess where it would be?
On Monday morning, Feb. 5, the four
commissioners met in Lowry Hay's cabin
near the mill. They talked all day; met
again Tuesday and Wednesday, discussing
"the settlements, the geography of the
county, the convenience of the people and
the eligibility of the situation."
By Thursday, Feb. 8, they had made
their decision; were ready to draft their
report. The county seat would be right
here at this settlement without a name.
Now to make it legal. The county com-
missioners — Hargrave, Pomroy and Slo-
cumb — must meet and accept the report.
The following Monday, Feb. 12, they went
to Hay's house. The Rev. Mr. Slocumb
opened the first county court session with
20 ACRES GIVEN FOR TOWN
They looked at a crude map of the
large new county. It extended from the
Wabash River westward into what is now
Hamilton, Franklin and part of Jefferson.
They divided the area into three
townships — Prairie, Fox River and West
— appointed overseers of the poor, consta-
bles and fence viewers. After a long day
The next morning James Ratcliff,
county clerk, and Benjamin R. Smith, sher-
iff, presented their official bonds. The
judges then called for the report of the
commission named to locate the seat of
Ratcliff, White, Hogg and Hays
recommended for the county seat a 40-
acre tract in the northeast quarter of Sec-
tion 13; announced that Leonard White
and Lowry Hay would donate 20 of these
acres to the county. A stake had been
driven in the center to mark the public
The official surveyor, Lowry Hay,
was ordered to lay off the town. Daniel
McHenry was empowered to mark off lota
and sell them.
And so, a town was bom. People didn't
know what to call it . . . Hay's Mill? . . .
Hargrave's Store? No, a new county seat
must have a good name; something with
Did John Slocumb then start leafing
through his Bible? Had he met the Wells
family from Vermont? Far from their
Eastern home, this pioneer family took up
land in this area just before the town was
formally established. Carmi Wells was the
father's name, and the youngest of his
children was named Carmi.
The Wells family moved on ; settled in
Wayne County, but they left their name
here. The parents died and the grand-
father came west to take the children back
Meeting at John Craw's log house on
April 10, leaders decided to call the town
Carmi, a name mentioned eight times in
Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Joshua and
^ne ibuf^ a/i'^em o/nd p^oti/iciiAed ,
KITE COUNTY grew fast. By
1818 it passed Gallatin in popu-
lation— 3,529 to 3,348— and was the third
most populous county in the state.
Settlers poured into Prairie, Fox
River and West Townships. The forest
echoed to axes. More and more cabins were
built in Carnii. The western boundary was
where the Methodist Church now stands —
but that was 'way out in the country. And
the country then was a forest !
Oh, the town was thriving. Lowry
Hay added a sawmill. He and his nephew
shipped whisky, pork and com to New
Orleans. The river front was a busy place
when flatboats were being loaded.
James S. Graham started a ferry
close to his hotel; opened a store and
George Webb and James Gray ran
trading posts. They paid %\ for pork bar-
rels, 12V^c a pound for deerskins, 4c a
pound for hogs.
Settlers trading there found these
Bacon 10c lb.; eggs I21/2C a doz. ;
chickens 10c each ; tallow 12i/^c lb. ; salt 6c
lb. ; tea 2 ounces 37c ; coffee 50c lb. ; sugar
32c lb.; soap 25c bar; wheat $1 bu. ;
Jack knife 371/2C; fish hooks 37V2C
doz.; looking glass 871/20; flints 25c doz.;
lead 25c lb. ; powder $1.25 lb. ; curry comb
371/2C; nails 25c lb.; grindstone $2.75;
nails and planks for coffin 621/2C;
Socks 87V^c pair; buttons 25 and 50c
doz. ; flannel 621/2C yd. ; broadcloth $3 and
$4 yd.; linen $1.25 yd.; silk $1.50 yd.;
needles I21/2C doz. ; oilcloth 75c ; bedspread
$2 ; ribbons 25c yd. ; indigo 2 ounces 25c.
FRAME JAIL, NO COURTHOUSE
A frame jail was built (where the
Municipal Building now stands) but the
county still had no courthouse. Court was
held in the home of John Craw.
The settlement had about 50 families.
There were four taverns, operated by John
Craw, Samuel Bozeman, John Lucas and
Phillip Buckner, and three doctors, Thomas
Shannon, Josiah Stewart and James E.
The new county seat attracted law-
yers. Riding into town in 1818 came John
M. Robinson, 24, member of a distin-
guished Lexington, Ky., family.
Out of Virginia, via Shawneetown,
came William E. Wilson. Since 1816 he had
owned land southwest of town. Now in
1819 he brought his family here. Soon
after arriving he was elected a Justice of
the Illinois Supreme Court.
It was a log cabin village. There were
no streets — only dirt roads, with short
stumps standing in some places.
But there were dreams of beauty and
gracious living even in a backwoods settle-
ment. Many came here from Virginia and
the Carolinas, where they had been accus-
tomed to stately houses. They appreciated
good architecture, art, literature and
ENGLISH TRAVELER SURPRISED
An English traveler found it so. Wil-
liam N. Blane traveled in North America
in 1822 and 1823 ; returned home to write
a book about his journey. He tells in detail
of a trip from Vincennes via Albion to St.
Louis, then back via Canni to New Har-
"The whole part of this part of the
country," he wrote, "until within a few
miles of the little village of Carmi, is very
wild but thinly settled, but there is an
abundance of game.
"I passed in a single day's ride as
many as a dozen deer and five gangs of
wild turkeys. There are also great num-
bers of wolves, wildcats and other ver-
Blane tells of riding into the little log
village, looking for a taveni where he
might spend the night. He found one, "a
very comfortable little tavern with a blaz-
Batcliff Inn in the ISSCs. Here is an artist's conception of Carmi's Main Street in stagecoach days,
wlien Batcliff Inn was new and considered one of tlie finest liotels in Illinois. Mrs. Nadine Cliilders
won a blue riblwn for tliis painting in a contest sponsored by tlie White County Historical Society.
Mrs. Frances Bacster won a blue riblKMi for her painting of Eatcliff Inn during the 1880's.
He asked the landlord if there was
anything to read. The host smiled and
bowed ; returned with a volume of Gold-
smith and Scotch novels, "The Traveller"
and "The Deserted Village."
Blane expressed surprise and pleasure
at finding books in the log tavern in the
little backwoods village.
Numerous settlers here were people
of property. They owned slaves, who
helped them carve homes out of the wil-
derness. In 1818 there were 52 slaves in
the county, and most of them were in
Willis Hargrave owned 14 ; James Rat-
cliff, 5 ; James Gray, 4 ; Samuel Hargrave,
3. Lowry Hay had two, who worked at the
mill, tannery and distillery. Two slaves of
James S. Graham ran his ferry, helped at
his store and tavern. Even John Slocumb,
the minister, owned one slave.
As the town grew, better dwellings
were erected. Leonard White built a hand-
some two-story house with ell and porches.
It was near the ravine on Main Cross
Street two blocks north of the present
White plunged into politics; defeated
Hargrave for the State Senate. More law-
yers arrived. Edwin B. Webb and his
brother George were admitted to the bar.
The 1820's found Carmi flowering
into one of the state's important towns.
The county population grew to 4,828, com-
pared to Gallatin's 3,155.
The Presbyterians organized a church.
Allen Rudolph started building a two-story
brick courthouse. James Ratcliff built one
of the finest hotels in Illinois.
What a sight the tavern must have
been — a two-story brick with a charming
Federal entrance. "Old Beaver" Ratcliff
was busy — county clerk, probate judge,
postmaster, storekeeper and hotel owner.
Folks still fretted because there was
no bridge across the river. County offi-
cials had been trying to get one built since
1819. In. 1829 Allen Rudolph— still build-
ing the courthouse — gave a $500 bond to
construct a covered bridge. 'Timbers were
hauled to the site, but the project was
abandoned. The lumber was used to build
^ne ^830'i --a a/ovMu^ decade , .
HE TOWN kept growing; had
400 residents in 1830. In one
year the county revenue totaled $975.09.
Dr. Josiah Stewart came into court and
paid his taxes, exactly 60c on 40 acres
adjoining the town. (This land is now the
center of Carmi's residential district).
A Yankee peddler, Oliver Holcomb,
was charged $50 for a three month license
to sell wooden clocks. Samuel D. Ready,
Davidson and Kearny and Wilmans and
Weed paid $15 for yearly licenses to sell
foreign goods. A general merchandise li-
cense cost $6. This included the right to
sell whisky in amounts over one gallon.
Stores dispensing by the drink or in quan-
tities less than a gallon paid $50.
There were several taverns in Carmi
and one at almost every country crossroad.
FIRST COURTHOUSE. ERECTED 18281831
SENATOR JOHN M. ROBINSON SENATOR EDWIN B. WEBB
ROBINSON ELECTED SENATOR
Excitement ran through the village in
the winter of 1831. A Carmi man was
going to the U. S. Senate !
Since arriving here in 1818, John M.
Robinson had become a noted lawyer and
one of the leading political figures of Illi-
nois. The Legislature elected him to the
Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the
death of David J. McLean of Shawnee-
On a winter day the coachman's
horn sounded as the stage drew up to the
Robinson house. Out stepped the new Sen-
ator, six feet, four inches tall, auburn-
haired, blue-eyed, 36 years old.
Into the coach Yie helped his wife Mar-
garet — daughter of James Ratcliff — and
their 10-month-old son, James.
There was more excitement in Canni
that summer. The new ccrthouse was
almost completed. People stopped to stare
and admire it. Windows were being
installed, shutters hung. The window and
door frames were of solid walnut. Offices
were on the second floor.
The entire first floor, 40 feet square,
comprised the courtroom. Two log fire-
places heated the chamber.
To this commodious room went the
settlers to sing and pray, dance the Vir-
ginia reel and minuet, stage home talent
plays and hold town meetings. For years
the courtroom was used as a church, ball-
room, theater and town hall.
History walks and talks In this liouse to anyone who will listen. The General John M. Robinson House
at the corner of Main Cross and Robinson Streets is one of the oldest residences in Illinois. Erected In
1814 by John Craw as a two-room log residence, it served as White County's courthouse prior to 1828.
Purchased in 1835 by U. S. Senator Robinson, it was enlarged and beautified and became the meeting
place of notable men, including Abraham Lincoln. Later it became the home of Mr. and Mrs. Robert
Stewart and Miss Mary Jane Stewart, granddaughter of Senator Robinson.
The 1830's added up to a glorious
decade for White County political leaders.
Robinson, in the Congress, was mingling
with Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, John C.
Calhoun, Davey Crockett, John Quincy
Adams, Andrew Jackson and Martin Van
Back home, others were rising in state
politics. William E. Wilson was chief ju.s-
tice of Illinois. Edwin B. Webb served four
terms in the House with Abraham Lincoln,
became a close friend of Abe.
CARMIAN WAS LIEUT. GOVERNOR
Unlike his tall brother-in-law. Senator
Robinson, Webb was a small man. He and
Robinson were of elegant and courtly man-
ners, true aristocrats from Virginia fam-
Others who served in the Legislature
were Dr. Josiah Stewart, William Mc-
Henry, Nathaniel Blackford, William Eu-
banks, John C. Goudy, John McCown, Alex-
ander Phillips and Col. William H. David-
Davidson was a wealthy merchant.
He moved his family to Canni from Vir-
ginia in 1830; took over the Leonard
White residence. Into the big white house
on the ravine he moved the expensive fur-
niture he brought from the east.
Defeating McHenry for the State Sen-
ate, he was speaker of that house in 1836
when Alex Jenkins resigned as lieutenant
governor. The CaiTni senator then moved
up to the second highest post in the state.
S^^ ^£tncfd7i, a mtulae ei/rul a, ct^i/Jieiiion
S THE 1830's faded a great
event developed. The Little Wa-
bash was about to be bridged! After 20
years of efforts, success was in sight. Ben-
jamin M. St. John was awarded a contract
in 1839. He started the following year.
Trees were felled in nearby woods.
Heavy timbers and beams were hewed.
Quarrymen cut stone from the river
banks. Thirty masons kept busy building
stone piers. The covered bridge was to be
300 feet long.
They worked fast, hoping to finish in
time for a Whig rally set for September 1.
The principal speaker was to be a Spring-
field lawyer named Abraham Lincoln.
FLOOD RUINS BRIDGE WORK
Summer rains made the river rise that
summer. The swirling waters swept away
the false work from under the east span.
Crash ! That end of the bridge fell into the
river and was washed downstream.
The Whigs were too busy to let that
worry them. They sent word to all the
counties in southern Illinois ; urged people
to come for the political rally and barbe-
They were whooping it up for Wil-
liam Henry Harrison for President. Lin-
coln was a candidate for Presidential elec-
tor; planned campaign stops at Carmi,
Shawneetown and Albion.
The great day dawned. Rain started
falling. Even that didn't dampen the
Whigs' enthusiasm. Down muddy, rutted
roads from all directions came the people
. . . walking, riding horseback, in carts and
wagons drawn by horses and oxen.
"Whoopee!" "Tippecanoe and Tyler,
Wagons and carts were loaded with
people and provisions. Beef, mutton, poul-
try, bread, cakes and pies for thousands
were unloaded at Stewart's grove. Dr.
Josiah Stewart lived in a double log house.
It was 'way out in the country then, but
now it's the corner of Third and Stewart
In the grove they had dug a barbecue
pit. It was 600 feet long, two feet deep and
four feet wide. Live hickory coals filled the
trench, and over these the meats were pre-
Abraham Lincoln looked much like this when he came
to Carmi In 1840. A member of the Illinois House of
Representatives, Lincoln was 31 years old when he hit
the camptaign trail for William Henry Harrison in the
"Tippecanoe and Tyler, Too" campaigrn.
John Wilson was one of the marshals ;
deputized to conduct the Gallatin County
delegation to the barbecue grounds.
"There were hundreds from Gallatin
alone," he said.
A great parade was held, with the lead
taken by a log cabin decorated with coon-
skins, mounted upon wheels and drawn by
many yoke of oxen.
JUSTICE WALKS TO TOWN
Chief Justice Wilson walked to town
from his farm. His wagon was drawn by
four yoke of oxen. Their horns were decor-
ated with red, white and blue ribbons.
They were fastened in gimlet holes bored
through points of the animals' horns.
The judge walked beside the oxen as
driver and his wife, Mary, sat in front of
the wagon, which was loaded with pro-
Despite the rain, the rally was a great
success. Lincoln stood before the huge
throng and spoke for more than an hour.
That night he lodged at Ratcliff Inn,
where he visited with his many friends.
The Whigs won a smashing victory,
but it was in the face of a creeping depres-
sion. All over the nation banks crashed,
factories closed, merchants failed, farm
In White County business went bank-
rupt. Shelves were empty. Stores closed.
A dozen places failed in Carmi. Only G. W.
Webb & Co., Samuel D. Ready and W. H.
Davidson weathered the storm.
Every business in Grayville folded.
The stores had no merchandise, the tav-
erns no liquor. Thirsty Grayville men trav-
eled to the New Harmony distillery or to
the Carmi taverns.
Farmers raised good crops, but there
was no market for them. Most were sold to
failing merchants who paid starvation
prices with worthless notes.
A few farmers floated their products
to New Orleans on flatboats. There they
found low prices, but what cash they did
get was in gold and silver. Returning they
brought sugar, coffee, tea, rice and molas-
BRIDGE COMPLETED AT LAST
The covered bridge was completed in
the summer of 1841 but few could afford
to pay the small toll to cross.
The above pictures the fb-st covered bridge across the Little
Wal>ash River in Carmi, the conception of Mrs. Ot.s vKatherine
St. John) Dill. Benjamin M. S^. John was the architect and
By 1842 the county was a shambles
commercially. Three fourths of the busi-
ness houses had failed. Everybody seemed
to be suing somebody. Many lost their
farms. Good work horses were taken from
plows by constables and sold at sales for
as low as $8.
The suffering stirred the people reli-
giously. Revivals started all over the
county. Meeting houses were filled. People
were broke but they clung to their faith.
The unrest caused a political upset. In
the 1842 election Webb was defeated for
the Legislature. John S. Lawler, a Demo-
crat, beat him by 40 votes.
Gradually business improved. Prices
The Democrats hoped hard times
would help them win in 1844, but the
Whigs staged a comeback. Nobody came
back stronger than Webb. He won election
to the State Senate and Lawler, who had
ousted Webb from the House two years
earlier, was defeated by Reuben Emerson.
By 1849 business was humming. In
the midst of prosperity, exciting news
came from California. Grold!
Up and down Carmi's Main Street peo-
ple gathered to talk about the rush west-
ward. Gold fever broke out in taverns and
S^ ifuMi ux^ aold . . . >c<?4e4 (tn^t cCiftt/mi . . .
HAT WINTER Asa Ross and
his workmen were busy building
light wagons. By spring, men were buying
supplies, bargaining for young oxen. They
paid $30 to $50 per yoke.
On May 29, 1850, Carmi's overland
wagon train was ready. Thirteen men
were up before dawn. Wagons were loaded.
Oxen were hitched. Whips cracked on the
morning air. California or bust!
People cheered as tne oxen lumbered
down the dusty street. The lead wagon was
owned by James Shipley, Orlando Burrell,
Tom, J. S. and Len Ross.
THREE MONTHS ON WAY
Next came the wagon of Lemuel Land,
Tom Shipley, Tom Vines, and James Kil-
breth. The third was owned by Bill Little,
John Ganley, Jim Shipley and Sylvester
Crossing the great plains and moun-
tains, they passed skeletons of horses,
oxen and cattle and broken wagons. They
met Indians but, fortunately, all were
friendly. After three months they arrived
The Rev. Alfred Flower came from
Albion in 1852 to hold a 16-day meeting
for the Christian congregation. His sister
took him to PhilUpstown in her carriage.
There he waited at the Hasty house for
the midnight stage from Grayville.
It was 2:30 a.m. when the stagecoach
rolled into town. The driver blew his horn
and stopped at the home of Mrs. John M.
Robinson, who was at the steps to greet
The meetings drew large crowds to
the courthouse. The heat was so oppressive
that August the people considered moving
to a nearby grove. However, Carson Hay
had an idea. He removed all the courtroom
windows and stored them. The shutters
were closed and the meeting room was
much cooler. For 16 nights — including
three Sundays — the meetings went on,
with town and country people filling the
In 1852 the Methodists erected the
first church in Carmi. It was a small brick
structure on Main Street, where the Ball
Drug Store now stands. Methodists and
Presbyterians both used the building.
Nobody struck it rich. After a year
they started home. They boarded ship at
San Francisco and sailed to Panama ; walk-
ed across the isthmus along a narrow
trail; took another ship to New Orleans;
came up the Mississippi, Ohio and Little
Wabash Rivers to Carmi.
On the way, Lemuel Land died at
Lake Charles, La. He was buried there.
Later, his family brought his body back
to White County.
Carmi was growing apace. Eyes of the
state focused on the town in 1852 when
Edwin Webb was nominated for Governor.
The Whigs named him by acclamation. He
was defeated by Joel Matteson in the Dem-
ocratic sweep that year.
Religious life was better organized.
The Methodists formed a society in 1850;
the Christians in 1851. The Presbyterians
had been organized since 1827. All three
denominations took turns meeting at the
MUSIC COMES TO TOWN
The village resounded to music in
1855. The Carmi Brass Band was organ-
ized, with Prof. George Warren, of Evans-
ville, as teacher. John Craw was the snare
drummer. William Cook played the cornet.
Michael Anderson beat the bass drum.
Other musicians were H. L. Bozeman, W.
H. Phipps, Thornton Bozeman, J. B. Craig,
Otto Phefflin and Walter A. Rhue.
The town was spreading out. Attor-
ney John M. Crebs built a large house at
Stewart and Jessup. Two blocks south, at
Main, Richard Jessup erected a two-story
residence with mansard roof. John Storms
a large brick business block on Main.
Left to rislit: Florence 1>. \Mieatcroft, I>ouise Cook Winner, Mary Prlscilla Brown, Margaret Patrick
Kerney, Alice Mahala Organ, Pattie Webb Stewart, Mary Patrick Boyer and Harriet Ellen Pearce.
When the free school law was passed
in 1856, people got busy. They elected
Berry Crebs, Albert R. Shannon and Dr.
E. L. Stewart to a school board. Samuel
Slocumb erected a large brick schoolhouse
on Fourth Street. J. L. Waterman was the
first principal. The second was N. B. Hods-
don, with Miss P. L. Dewey as associate
Before the free school was opened it
was a struggle for many to get an educa-
tion. The teiTTi usually lasted three months
and the cost — $2 to $2.50 per teiTn — was
high for many families.
Youngsters were expected to earn
their school money. They dug ginseng,
gathered nuts, chopped wood, hunted rab-
bits and caught coons.
Orlando Burrell chopped 10 cords of
wood for James Ratcliff at 25c per cord to
pay for a school term.
AH, THE 1850'S
Life was sweet and serene in the vil-
lage in the 1850's. "Listen to the Mocking
Bird" was the song of the day. Many a
Carmi swain thrilled to the words as he
stood, bewhiskered and in swallow-tail coat,
beside the organ in the parlor while a girl
played and sang.
It was a time in the best society cir-
cles of fragile, low-cut evening dresses of
gauze and illusion, and garlanded wdth
roses, violets and honeysuckle. Blossoms
trailed on the great distended skirts, and
life was colorful and gay — even in a village
of mud streets, with no sidewalks save for
a few boards here and there.
Gay young blades succumbed to the
craze for mustaches, and almost to a man
had ceased to shave their upper lips.
Beards were plentiful, and in business and
professional circles men dressed in black
or blue broadcloth swallow-tail coats
adorned with bright buttons.
As the decade ended, war clouds were
gathering. Rumblings of the storm echoed
out of Springfield and Washington.
The South was threatening to secede
— and Cai-mi's many people of southern
ancestiy shuddered at the thought.
fya/it^ and fi€i
"Nothing is worse than war'! Dishonor
is worse than war. Slavery is worse than
war." — Winston Churchill.
COL. JOHN WHITING
COL. JOHN M. CBEBS
WENTY-ONE YEARS after he
spoke in Carmi, Abe Lincoln was
in the White House. Many of his old
friends here were dead — Robinson, Rat-
cliff, Webb, Wilson, Davidson, McHenry.
Lincoln faced a seceding south, and
the cannon that fired on Fort Sumter
reverberated along the Little Wabash.
When news came of Lincoln's call for
75,000 volunteers excitement ran like
lightning through the village. Answering
immediately were Orlando Burrell, Frank
Lindsay and L. S. Rice. They hurriedly
organized men who were mustered in April
25 as Company D, Eighth Infantry.
Meanwhile, Attorneys John E. Whi-
ting and John M. Crebs started organizing
a regiment of volunteers. White County
men thronged to the colors. Their Eighty-
seventh Infantry was formally organized
at Shawneetown Aug. 16, 1862, and mus-
tered in Sept. 22.
Col. Whiting headed the regiment.
Crebs was lieutenant colonel. George W.
Land was major; John D. Martin, adju-
tant; Francis M. Coulter, quartermaster;
Dr. Elam M. Stewart, surgeon; Dr. Daniel
P. Berry, assistant surgeon. The Methodist
minister, Albert Ransom, went as chaplain.
Captains were James A. Miller, James
Fackney, Edmund Emery, James E. Willis.
John H. Wasson, Samuel J. Foster, Ross
Graham, Benjamin F. Brockett, Sr., James
P. Thomas, Martin Vaught, Thomas Eulow
and William T. Prunty.
DR. DANIEL BERRY
COL. EVERTON J. CONGEB
White County won an eminent place
in the nation's record of volunteers, ex-
ceeding its draft quota by more than 700
In blood and sacrifice, the toll was
high with about 500 giving their lives in
After peace came, one more was to
die. He was Abraham Lincoln, assassina-
ted on Good Friday 1865 by John Wilkes
Booth in Ford's Theater in Washington.
Once more Carmi's association with
Lincoln was to be recorded in the pages of
history. Commanding the troops captur-
ing the fleeing Booth was Col. Everton J.
Conger, son of Carmi's Rev. Enoch Conger
and brother of Attorney C. S. Conger.
Returning veterans picked up the
threads of peace and once again wove
themselves into the fabric of the commu-
Carmi grew, slowly. The little brick
church on Main Street was abandoned by
Methodists and Presbyterians. Both de-
nominations had alternated in using the
building. At the comer of Church and
Main the Methodists erected a tall white
frame building with steeple. On First
Street the Presbyterians built their house
of worship. Members of the Christian
Church completed their new building in
Business flourished and the town
entered the 1870's with great expectations.
^(U^, lu/^ lown " = fiofia/a4i(>n -^,29^ .
This IS one of the most valuable pictures of old-time Carmi. It shows the north side of the courthouse
square on a snowy day in 1875. The original 1828 courthouse was only 47 years old. The Fireproof
Building on the opposite comer was new. Bacli of that buUdlng stood a busy hotel. On the southeast
comer, where the Williams house now stands, was a hitching post.
y^aA^ S^, Hir. Q^oA^^^r^lM^^
Horses pulling: wagons plodded down snowy, muddy Main Street in the winter of 1875. The tall spire
of the Methodist Church is seen at the left.
ARDLY 600 people lived in
Carmi as the 1860's ended.
The 1870's brought a boom. Popula-
tion doubled in two years. Ephraim Joy
and his sons, Thomas and Andrew, came
from Bridgeport and started the Carmi
Steamboats plied the Little Wabash
and Skillet Fork. The Cairo and Vincennes
Railroad was being built.
"Over 200 houses have been built here
in the last year," said the Carmi Times in
1872. "Several fine new business houses
are in process of construction."
The town had 6 boss carpenters; 5
plasterers; 6 bricklayers; 3 blacksmith
shops with 2 to 6 smiths in each shop; 3
wagon shops ; 2 tin shops ; 2 saddle shops ;
2 shoe shops ; 2 tailor shops ; 2 boss paint-
ers ; 1 marble yard ; 2 brick yards working
10 to 20 men ; 2 sawmills ; 1 stave factory
with 12 hands; 2 cooper shops with 20
workmen; 1 woolen factory; 1 foundry; 1
grist water mill; a merchant mill; 8 dry
goods stores; 2 shoe stores; 2 clothing
stores; 4 family groceries; 2 drug stores;
1 hardware store; 1 confectionery and
J. M. Crebs was in Congress. His law
partner back home was C. S. Conger.
The Damron House was a busy place ;
offered good stabling, sample rooms for
commercial travelers and a free omnibus
to and from all trains. On Jan. 23, 1873,
the Carmi Times said : "A sister of the late
Stonewall Jackson stopped at the Damron
House last Wednesday. She is on a visit to
relatives in the county."
In the centennial year of America's independence — 1876 — Carmi
built two fine brick schools, and they were used until they were
replaced in the 1930's. At top, the South Side School. Bottom,
North Side School'.
THE BEV. EPHRAIM JOY
The long: covered bridge last^nl only 38 years. Completed ill 1841,
it was razed in 1879 and this splendid iron span was built.
At Viskniskki's St. Louis Store coffee
3old four pounds for $1 ; sugar, six pounds
for $1 ; coal oil, 40c gal. ; crackers, 12c lb. ;
rice I2V2C lb. ; cheese, 20c lb. ; cod fish, 8c
lb. ; cured ham, 15c lb. ; a broom, 20c ; bar
of soap, 5c ; pickles, 10c doz.
At Christmas time in 1872 Mr. Ma-
lone's book store advertised "Secrets of
the Convent and Confessional," "Mormon
Wife," "Three Years in a Man-Trap," and
"Laws of Health and the Human Form."
The Carmi Times personals column
had these items : "Mating time now. Splen-
did skating. Egg-nog times are here. Sev-
eral of the boys were on a glorious bust
Christmas day. Fireworks were heard all
over town the past week. Bustles are said
to have proved useful during the late slip-
In spite of the building and progress,
Carmi was still a mud street town. Hogs
wallowed in Main Street mud holes. A log
cabin still stood where the Radio Building
now stands at Main and Walnut.
Farmers coming to town for supplies
often found their wagons mired deep in
mud. It took an entire day to come to town
and return home. Some stayed overnight.
Graham's two-story hotel was where the
Innovation now operates.
Food was plentiful and cheap. A
housewife could buy a basketful of back-
bones and spareribs at Byrd Patrick's pork
house for a dime.
And then the village became a town.
The people voted — 135 to 106 — to incor-
porate. In a lively election Dr. Elam L.
Stewart was elected mayor, defeating Ross
As the town grew the Free School
became crowded. Two-story brick school-
houses were built on the North and South
The covered bridge was demolished
and an iron bridge built.
The White County Fair was organ-
ized. The Fair Association bought 40
acres 'way out in the country west of town.
Business and agriculture, education
and religion were flourishing as Carmi
greeted the 1880's.
DE. ELAM L. STEWABT
Carmi's First Mayor
^eia cou/jf^honAe, a/)^d cl cclleae .
ARMERS COMING to Carmi in
the ]880's were astonished at
the changes. Their wagons and buggies
rumbled over the new iron bridge.
The present city park at Main and
Main Cross Streets was a hitching yard.
There they tied their horses. Across the
street the 1828 courthouse was being
razed. A new two-story, towered court-
house was being planned.
The town's population had doubled
again ! From its 1,294 residents of 1873 the
figure rose to 2,512 in the 1880 census.
The George S. Staley mill was big
business then. Every day it turned out 100
barrels of flour and 50 barrels of meal.
Harvey Crozier came to town and
opened a large grocery at First and Smith
Streets. A fine confectionery was started
on Main by William Dietz.
There still were vacant lots on Main
Street. They were popular meeting places
for boys playing marbles and men holding
The town had crept westward and
extended to Plum Street. There, on the
southwest comer, was built a two-story
brick college with a tower. It was the new
home of the Southern Illinois Normal
School and Commercial College.
The school had been burned out ear-
lier when a fire swept the Brockett build-
ing on Main Street.
CAR Mi WAT£« SAiiiimg
The town made progi'ess through the
decade with mayors named Orlando Bur-
rell, George Wissinger, Frank E. Hay, Dr.
John M. Minick and Simon Grant.
Carmi was a rough town in those
days, especially on Saturday night. Saloons
were crowded and fights were frequent on
the streets. The Dollar Courier reported a
general free-for-all one Saturday night
with 50 men engaged in combat. Police
were overpowered and no arrests were per-
The newspaper reported that a burg-
lar reached into Tom Ary's sleeping room
and pulled out a vest. In the pockets he
found $50 and Ary's false teeth. The vest
and teeth were found hanging on a tree
north of the railroad shops several days
The 1880's closed with C. S. Conger
being elected circuit judge and .James R.
Williams going to Congress.
JUDGE C. S. CONGER
JAIVIES B. WILLIAMS
i This home and general store of Mrs. Mary Shannon Williams' father,
Albert R. Shannon, was replaced by tlie Victorian residence of Con-
Igressman and Mrs. James R. Williams. It is now occupied by Mrs.
|Robert Ready Williams.
John D. Martin's largre resid^ice was <m Court Square.
The BjTd L. Patrick family lived in this house on Main Street, close
to the present site of the Carmi Theatre. This picture was taken in
1888. The house was moved to Robinson Street and is now the
Be^dence of George E. Staley, the miller.
ff^-*-<J ^Mf^ f-^^Sfc-
Bcnwmber the days of the dill' pickle barrel? And the hoarhouiid
candy in glass jars? And the cracker barrel and pot-bellied stove?
And old Dobbin pullfng- the delivery wagron? You could see them
■n at Harvey Crozier's New York Grocery Store, top right, at
Smitti and First Streets back in the ISSCTs. Driving the wagon is
Everett M. Robinson. Facliig: the wag:on is Henry Stockhowe. To
the rigrht of Stockhowe Is Fred Barth. Center, rlgrht, the ZiegrJer
and Beinwald stiave factory, a big: industry here In the eighties
and nineties. Second man on left is George Schauiierger, fattier
o< Mrs. Laurence Boehringer. Bottom right, the Zlegler and Bein-
wald sawmill. Sectmd frmn left, behind vragon, is Frank Leathers.
At right, man standing in wagon in shirt sleeves Isl Ike Leathers.
On far right is Ekios Leathers. Second fr<mi right, Granville
S^n. In^^e w^n/deif^t nlne^^/
"All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.'
HE PEANUT roaster chuffed
in front of William Dietz's Main
Street Confectionery. The toy clown on it
bobbed up and down.
A caisson with a Civil War cannon
stood in front of the Fireproof Building.
A dashing young doctor from Austra-
lia, William Brimble-Combe, made his
rounds in a fancy buggy, pulled by a black
horse named Joe Lee.
Fred Bair, Ed Mead, Miss Stella
Schoemann and many others sped up and
down the dusty streets on bicycles.
"Kid" Hacker wore a sandwich board
advertising Coca-Cola in front of Dietz's.
It was a colorful, gracious, delightful
decade; the days of the Gibson Girl with
pompadour hair-do, puffed sleeves and bil-
Oh, the Nineties were gay, all right!
Dances and kissing games became popular.
Women started using face powder; colors
and bright prints for dresses; large
brooches and lavaliers.
In tune with the times, men wore
striped and checked suits, gaudy ties,
fancy vests, heavy watch chains, mus-
taches and derby hats.
RatoUff Inn was old in lo^i. xi. had been standing: for 69 years in
this picture. Adjoining: to rlg:lit is A. Willis, ptiotographer. Next is
Stinson Bros, store.
Miss Stella Schoemann riding: a bicyde on Church Street in 1896.
E m w wwi 11 1 ff^ im m-ffiti''^**^
William Dietz' peanut roaster in
Kid Hacker advertising: CocarCoIa in front of the Dietz restaurant
Best-seller novels became popular.
People avidly read "The Prisoner of
Zenda," "Trilby," "Quo Vadis," and "When
Knighthood Was in Flower."
The town continued growing, with
2,755 residents in 1890. During the decade
the mayors were Simon Grant, owner of a
brickyard; George Wheatcroft, sawmill
owner ; Attorney Jasper Partridge, George
Ziegler, manufacturer of staves, barrels
and lumber; Harvey H. Crozier. merchant
and grain dealer.
It was an era of lively tunes, at home,
on the street and in the theater. Young
and old liked to gather in the parlor
around the reed organ and sing "Bicycle
Built for Two," "After the Ball," "Sweet
Marie," "Ta-ra-ra-ra Boom de-ay," "The
Bowery," "Sidewalks of New York," and
"Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight."
Civil War cannon in front of Fireproof Building- at Main and Main
Ed Mead on a wheel on Church Street in 1896.
Fred Bair bicycling- on Main. Residence on left was that of W. R.
Archer; right, Joe F. Williams^
Horse and buggy doctor of the 1890's. Dr. William Brimble-Combe, who came from Australia, sits
in his buggy behind Joe Lee on the river bank near the iron bridge.
William Jennings Bryan as he appeared In Carml In 1896.
Charles P. Berry bought the Carmi
Courier. Wust and Faulkner built the first
electric light plant. Two new banks were
organized — the First National, headed by
James A. Miller, and the Farmers and
Merchants, with William R. Cochran as
The Methodists and Presbyterians
built new churches and Mrs. Morris Blas-
ker organized the Home Culture Circle at
her home on West Main Street.
Surrey with the fringre on top — and old Dobbin doesn't mind the
muddy road as he cHp-clops toward the Ea.st Main Street bridge
Orlando Burrell, sheriff, county
judge. Congressman, mayor.
In a political upset, Orlando Burrell,
former sheriff, county judge and mayor,
defeated James R. Williams for Congress
in 1895, but Williams staged a comeback
in 1899 and went on to national prom-
William Jennings Bryan came cam-
paigning in 1896. He spoke on a flag-
draped platform near the depot and was
photographed on the street with numerous
The streets were still muddy or dusty,
depending on the weather.
Shoppers thronged to the stores own-
ed by L. Haas, Morris Blasker, Stinson
Brothers and A. Schoemann. For fancy
groceries they went to J. J. Birdsong, Witt-
mer and Machenheimer, Stockhowe's New
York Grocery and B. L. Patrick's. T. W.
Brown had a busy meat market on Main,
where the Hirsch store now stands, and
on the Standard Oil comer we now know
stood the fenced-in residence of the J. F.
Will Rice had a thriving tobacco bus-
iness. W. A. Ball opened his drug store on
Church Street, close to a rising young den-
tist. Dr. A. S. Rudolph.
The Kerney and Stinnett mill was a
big business on the river front and Steven
Eckerle's brick and tile works was boom-
"Remember the Maine!" was the cry
in 1898 when America went to war with
Spain, and once more Carmi men answered
the call to the colors.
Fun at Dtetz's in 1895. Oh, that was the place to go 70 y(>ars ayol Posing clotkvvise, Mr. and Mrs.
Claude M. Barnes, Mr. and IVIrs. Berry Crebs, Mr. and Mrs. Stewart Crebs, Stella Haas and her
brother, Erwin, Miss Molly Stewart, Joe Williams. The woman left center is unidentified.
In the old Opera House in 1898. These civic leaders presented a play, "The Destriek Schul," for the
Home Culture Circle in ite efforts to raise money to start a pubUc library. The old Opera House was
on tlhe second floor of what is now the Carmi Furniture Store. Pictured left to right are, bottom row:
Will Tully, Bob Silliman, Ira Funkhouser, Dr. Daniel Berry, George Meridith, Will Smith and Dr.
Berry Crebs. Second row: Mrs. Albert Schoemann, Mrs. Mark Blasker, Mrs. Tom Poynton, Mrs. George
Meridith, Mrs. Tom Hutchins, Mrs. Perry WTiite, Mrs. Ira Funkhouser and Mrs. Bateliff Webb. Third
row: Mrs. Dave Rickenbach, Miss Laura Stinnett, Miss Ira Clayton, T. W. Hall, Mrs. Sophia Miller,
Mrs. W. C. Smith, A. L. Patrick, Mrs. R. E. Pearce, Bradford Powell and Miss Jane Craw. Fourth row:
Mrs. Felix Viskniskki, Sheriff Tom Hutchins, Mrs. Tom Hall, Mrs. Burnett and Mrs. P. A. Pearce. Top
row: John Crebs, Mr. Burnett and Dave K. Rickenbach.
HE OLD century ended on
Carmi people held watch parties and
church services as they bid farewell to the
1800's. Church bells rang in an era of
peace and gracious living.
LfOwry Hay, James Ratcliff and the
other pioneers of 1816 would have rubbed
their eyes in astonishment if they could
have seen "their town" 84 years later.
Carmi's population had risen to 2,939 !
Life was pleasant and serene. Food was
abundant, inexpensive and good. Business
was booming. Carmi was the trade center
for a large area.
In the first decade of the new cen-
tury, two new banks were opened — The
National Bank of CaiTni in 1900 with John
M. Crebs as president and the White
County Bank in 1904, headed by Frank E.
Durable, dependable old Orlando Bur-
rell was mayor again at 75 and he served
until he was 81. Under his administrations
Main Street was paved with cobblestones
from Main Cross to Church. Tom Poynton
poured many concrete sidewalks to replace
Electric arc lights flickered at night.
By day the drays, wagons and buggies
clattered over the cobblestones. Hitching
racks, blacksmith shops and livery stables
were busy places.
The horse was king. Harness shops,
sales stables, feed stores were open early
and late. All over town residents had their
own stables and carriage houses. Buggies
could be bought for as little as $60. Some
bought carriages costing as much as $400,
with rubber tires and graceful oil lamps.
The 1900's arrived with people sing-
ing "I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now,"
"A Bii'd in a Gilded Cage" and "By the
Light of the Silvery Moon." Carmi i)eople
were reading "The Virginian," "Alice of
Old Vincennes" and "The Little Shepherd
of Kingdom Come."
Men started shaving off their mus-
taches and beards. Gillette invented the
Dressmaking was big business and so
was the millinery trade. Women wore
fancy lace and scrim dust ruffles to pro-
tect their dresses. Waists and sleeves fit-
It was a decade of great events nation-
ally. The Wright brothers proved that an
airplane would fly. A one-cylinder Packard
crossed the continent in 61 days. President
McKinley was assassinated and Teddy
Roosevelt came to power.
"Motormania" hit the country. A Reo
auto could be bought for $650 and Ransom
E. Olds planned to build 430 one year. The
two-cylinder Maxwell runabout was an
On the river bank near the bridge
Joseph Weigant's mill ground busily away.
West of there, where the Rice Motor Com-
pany now operates, James Cullison's gen-
eral store was taking in poultry and eggs
Bernard Haen and his young partner
El-nest Wehrle had a bakery on Brick
(Church) Street and the Jahlreiss bakery
was operating on Main.
Gone are tiie drudg^ing women — they sing- and smile
And the cruel song of the whetstone, HIce the ghosit of the
past is dead;
The wheat is ripe in the upland, and the hay is snug in the
And tiie mily song as the days go by is the purr of the
'Way l>acli; there's where I'd love to be,
Shet of each i'esson and hatefui ruie,
When the whole round world was as sweet to me
As the big ripe apple I brung to school.
Party time on Stewart Street. The Ail>ert Schoemann home at Tliird and Stewart Streets was a social
center in the 1890's. This picture of young people there was talten in 1892.
Jack Cross was running a restaurant
at Main and Walnut (where the First
National Bank now stands) and next door
was Hugh Trammell's barber shop. Jasper
Dale's Drug Store was where the Shoe
Mart now stands, and the Halk Auto loca-
tion then was Schumaker's clothing store.
East of that was the popular confectionery
of William Dietz, now busier than ever as
Lee Rose had a barber shop next to
Dietz, and where Sam Ziegler now does
business was Blasker's Di-y Goods Store.
Sonny Gumberts had a saloon in an
old frame building on the site of the pres-
ent White County Bank and in the same
block was the L. Haas store.
Carmi ladies thronged to Mrs.
Kuykendall's milliner>' shop, where the
White County Abstract Company now op-
erates, next to the City Park.
It was a decade of fun and frolic. The
B.N.K. Club staged shows at the Opera
House for the benefit of the Village Im-
provement Association. Folks thronged
to the White County Fair in their buggies
and caiTiages. The Thursday and Friday
Clubs attracted the cream of society.
Nickelodeons drew people to flicker-
ing moving picture shows. It was a period
of ragtime music and Sousa the march
People sang and hummed "Won't You
Come Home, Bill Bailey?", "The Good Old
Summer Time," "Sweet Adeline," "Meet
Me in St. Louis," and "Shine On, Harvest
Attorney F. M. Parish and Claude M.
Barnes followed Burrell as mayors. Barnes
was a wealthv land owner and merchant.
Editor, CongTessman, Civic Leader
He pushed the paving of streets and for
On May 6, 1909, a 23-year-old news-
paperman came to town. Although there
were two newspapers here already — the
Carmi Times and the White County Demo-
crat — Roy Clippinger started the Carmi
Tribune in partnership with Lawrence M.
Those Easter bonnets I Ladies and little girls knew that the place to go was to Mrs.
Kuykendall's millinery shop. It was a popular place in the first decade of this
century. The building on Main beside the park now iS occupied by the White County
KriiM 1 tiie brass lamps on
those wonderful MaxweDs? SttD
in his teens, Matthew Land driv«8
the family auto alon^: a oountry
Clipping«r had started setting type at
10 years of age. He worked for the Norris
City newspaper owned by his father, A. C.
Clippinger, then launched out for himself
A bom leader, Clippinger was so in-
dustrious he worked day and night. With-
in two years he had merged his paper with
the Carmi Times. He operated the Tribune-
Times until 1929, when it merged with
Judge C. S. Conger's White County Demo-
crat. Clippinger and Conger were partners
for several years in the Carmi Democrat-
Tribune. The judge then sold his interest
Editing the only newspaper in the
county seat, Clippinger continually pushed
for Carmi's improvement. He got a bridge
built at New Harmony, organized and
headed the Greater Weeklies of America,
converted his newspaper into a daily and
was twice elected to Congress.
When he died Dec. 24, 1962, he left a
new Carmi Times, a daily newspaper. He
had been an editor here for 53 years and a
newspaperman for 66.
As the first decade of the new cen-
tury closed, Taft was President, the first
model T was catching the public's fancy,
the city's population had dropped a little
and people were singing two of the most
popular songs ever viritten, "Let Me Call
You Sweetheart" and "Ah, Sweet Mystery
Washington's birthday party about 1905, in the home of Mrs.
Frank E. Hay. Members of the DAB and Thursday Club are
identifled as, front row sitting, left to right: Mrs. Virginia Malt-
by (non-member), Mrs. Claud Barnes, Mrs. John M. Creljs, Mrs.
J. W. Maffitt, Mrs. Jolm C. Powell and Mrs. Charles P. Berry.
Back row, standing, left to right: Miss Mary J. B. Stewart, Miss
Catherine McOilntock, Mrs. Berry Crebs, Miss Annie Cong'er, Miss
Molly Stewart and Mrs. Boy E. Pearce.
THE FRIDAY CLUB IN 1906 — Lai Tlie ladies were lovely 60
years ago. Back row: Pearl Bice Ziegler, Bemieee Schoemann,
Evelyn Viskniskki McCave, Kate Pomeroy Wilson, Nellie Boyer
Pearce, Grace Caley Dietz and Ella Berry Barnes. Middle row:
Elmma Smith Boyer, Lena Patrick Conger, Vera Viskniskki,
Eileen Tuck Martin, Anna Tente Boyer, Ethel 3Iartin Bullard and
Lilly Smith Bich. Front row: Stella Schoemann Singer, Helen
Conger Haas and Ekina Haas.
Many still living remember the wonderful Innovation, meeting place for courtin' or a Coke; to listen to music amid the palms;
to order a cherry phosphate from the wondrous soda fountain.
^eace^il. twneS^l, tuma/e/rU li/me^
T WAS A pretty little country
town in 1911. Shade trees lined
the streets, offering cool comfort on hot
and lazy summer days.
The player piano became popular and
phonographs were all the rage. Ragtime
music swept the country, with people sing-
ing "Alexander's Ragtime Band," "Ballin'
the Jack," "Bugle Call Rag," "Lonesome
Rag," and "Everybody's Doing It Now."
Carmi young people took up a new
dance craze, the fox trot, and they hum-
med and sang "Oh, You Beautiful Doll"
and "I Want a Girl Just Like the Girl."
Sweet songs of the times were "Mother
Machree," "Little Grey Home in the
West," "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling,"
"After You've Gone," and "The Sweet-
heart of Sigma Chi."
Although the population had fallen
(to 2,833) for the first time since 1890,
business was good and times were prosper-
Into office as mayor in 1911 went
Thomas H. Land, owner of farms, a grain
business and a dealer in loans. Canni al-
ready had elected descendants of pioneers
as mayors. Dr. Elam L. Stewart, elected in
1873, was a grandson of William Stewart
who came here in 1816.
Frank E. Hay, elected in 1885, was a
son of Daniel Hay, who was one of the
founders of the town.
In the 1911 election the people chose
the great-grandson of Robert Land, who
came from South Carolina and settled on
the Big Prairie in 1809, six years before
White County was created.
Mayor Land had married Ada C. Mel-
rose, of Grayville, and their children were
Matthew and Elizabeth (Mrs. J. Robert
In those serene years before World
War I the railroad depot was one of the
gathering places of the town. People
thronged there to see who left and arrived
on trains for St. Louis, Evansville and Chi-
The 1913 flood caused widespread
damage and townspeople crowded to the
river front to watch the swirling waters.
WHITE COUNTY CENTENNIAL CEUEERATION AND MOOSE
CARNIVAL, AUGUST 3-8, 1814, CAHMl, ILUNOIS
T w WAV pxfc*>uk»*' c^A'ictr- <i. af?ovt
Boscoe co;«>!AN xiusti. »»!;«£»
The manager of the telephone com-
pany, John C. Stokes was elected mayor —
and that was the year Carmi's Anti-Saloon
League paraded down Main Street, flags
flying and a band playing, to protest
against the liquor traffic.
Harking back to pioneer days, the
town held a White County Centennial Cele-
bration and Moose Carnival August 3-8,
1914. The committee included T. W. Hay,
president; Roscoe Cochran, Fred C. Punt-
ney, Charles G. Brown, Hersel M. Archer,
Harry White and William B. Hartwick.
Postcards issued by Kelley Staiger
honored early pioneers named Daniel Mc-
Henry, Robert Land, Noah Kuykendall,
Henry Jones and John Hanna.
On Monday, June 21, soon after dawn,
Mrs. Carson Hughes was in her yard on
West Main Street close to the iron bridge.
She heard a crashing noise, looked up and
saw the west span of the bridge collapse
and fall into the river. Miss Effie Gray
(Mrs. Herbert Bruce) and Charlie Green
had just crossed safely when the bridge
News of the disaster spread fast.
Small boats were assembled, then larger
ones, to accommodate the public. Business
men held conferences with county and city
officials. A pontoon bridge was hurriedly
built. By Oct. 6 a contract was awarded for
a new span, which was dedicated August
8, 1916. It was called the Rainbow Arch
bridge, made of 88 tons of steel and 10,000
bags of cement !
It was a time of peace and plenty, but
Europe was at war and its influence was
felt in Carmi. Farm prices rose and there
was a demand for land, horses and mules.
U. S. industries boomed.
People started singing an English war
song, "Tipperary," and President Woodrow
Wilson was trying to keep America out of
All of a sudden, life changed. No long-
er were people singing "Pretty Baby,"
"The Missouri Waltz," and "When You
Wore a Tulip." America went to war. Men
we~e drafted. Army camps opened. Now
it was "Over There," "You're in the Army
Now," "K-k-k-Katy," "Goodbye Broadway,
Hello France," and "Hinkey Dinkey Parlez
Mayor Frank Sibley, just elected, re-
signed and left his medical practice to en-
ter the army. Ralph Benson became mayor
in his place.
Land prices soared. Farmers worked
day and night to raise food. Troop trains
rolled away from the Carmi depot to the
cheers and tears of friends and loved ones.
Fighting the saloons in 1913 — flags waving and bands playing,
the drys marched down Main Street April 15, 1913, in a protest
against the liquor traffic Many children joined members of the
Anti-Saloon League in the march.
Carmi celebrating and i>aradiiig on Armistioe Day, November
It was an era of glucose in place of
sugar, Khaki and rolled puttees. Liberty
loan drives and the disastrous influenza
When it was all over, Carmi joined in
nation-wide rejoicing. Early in the morn-
ing of November 11, 1918, news came of
the German surrender.
A parade was organized. That after-
noon Main Street was crowded. People
cheered and sobbed with joy as they
watched the decorated wagons and cars
and marching throngs proceed down Main
The happy, tuneful, turbulent, violent
decade ended with Tom W. Hall, banker,
taking over as mayor.
HEY STILL call it "the Roaring
Twenties," but the decade didn't
start out that way.
The war songs faded. People adjusted
to peace ; had a yearning for "the good old
days." After their sacrifices in Europe,
Americans started singing "Let the Rest
of the World Go By," and "There's a Long,
Long Trail A-Winding Into the Land of
In 1920 Carmi's population was the
lowest since 1880, down to 2,667. Nobody
worried because business was good. Dr.
Sibley was mayor again and he was suc-
ceeded by W. F. Elliott, auto dealer, and
Fred J. Reinwald, feed and grain mer-
People played Mah Jong, listened to
radios with horn speakers, read headlines
about the Ku Klux Klan and the death of
Suddenly, the "good old days" were
only a memory. The jazz age dawned!
CaiTni girls discarded ankle-length skirts
and bunchy waists. The flapper appeared
with bobbed hair, skirts to the knees and
rolled silk hose.
Stately waltzes and polkas gave way
to the Charleston and Black Bottom. Ru-
dolph Valentino was the Sheik; Colleen
Moore played at the Main Theater in "Fla-
ming Youth;" Bayleys sold Ford run-
abouts for $265.
Sweet, slow songs of 1920 were "Whis-
pering," "My Little Margie," and "Tuck
Me to Sleep in My Old 'Tucky Home." Now
it was "Yes Sir, That's My Baby," "Dood-
ley Doo," and "Jada."
A Kiwanis Club was organized and
Attorney Joe A. Pearce was the first pres-
ident. Dr. Ray McCallister opened a dental
office in Norris City before moving to
The worst disaster of the decade came
Wednesday, March 18, 1925, when a tor-
nado roared across the county, killing 27
and injuring 126. It destroyed 110 houses
and took a damage toll of $750,000.
JUDGE C. S. CONGER
That was the year 10,000 people came
here to celebrate the opening of the hard
The Strand Theater opened with Mae
Murray playing in "The Merry Widow."
Rebstock Brothers were selling the Star
auto. Clara Bow was the "It" girl. Fire
swept a block on Main Street. Talking pic-
tures thrilled the country.
Daredevil Olson sat on a flagpole high
over Main Street. Phil Hanna presided
over the hanging of Charlie Birger. Lou
Emmerson defeated Len Small for Gover-
nor. W. A. Ball opened his Main Street
The Canni weekly newspapers mer-
ged, with Roy Clippinger and C. S. Conger
The new age with faster tempo
wrought changes in town. With better
roads and many, many more autos, the
horse and buggy almost vanished. More
farm people moved to town. The popula-
tion started rising; reached 2,925 by the
close of the decade.
This picture was taken at 100th anniversary celebration of the Presbyterian Church, 1927. Front row,
left to right: l>Irs. Ethel Bee, Miss Enid Lewis, Miss Rose Mary Bee and Mrs. Charles P.
Berry; second row: Dr. Berry S. Crei)S, R. F. Hurley, Mrs. Charles Glbbs, Mrs. W. A. Bali, Miss Molly
Stewart, Robert Finch and Ivan McCalilster; tliird row: William C. Smith, Lillie Campbell, Mrs.
Frank C. Sibley, Mrs. W. G. Boyer and Charles Randolph; fourth row: William Ball, John M.
Crebs, Zachary Boyer, Henry Lewis, Chauncey Stewart Conger and Joe Fleming Williams. Only six
pictured here are still living: Rose Mary Bee, Enid Lewis Thuermer, Mrs. Charles Gibbs, Ivan McCal-
Uster and Lillie Campl>ell Siliiman.
In 1927 the Presbyterians celebrated
their centennial. A pageant depicted the
church's founding, with 21 in the cast.
They were: Mrs. Roy E. Pearce, C. S. Con-
ger, W. C. Smith, John M. Crebs, Mrs. W.
A. Ball, Dr. B. S. Crebs, Joe F. Williams,
R. F. Hurley, Z. T. Boyer, Ivan McCallister.
Mrs. L. C. Berry, W. A, Ball, R. E. Finch,
Mrs. Charles Gibbs, Mrs. Frank C. Sibley,
Charles T. Randoph, Miss Lillie Campbell,
Miss Mollie Stewart, Herbert Bayley and
Mrs. W. G. Boyer.
The "talkies" came to the Strand The-
ater in "Broadway Melody." Dr. R, C.
Brown moved here from Eldorado.
Oh, it was a tuneful, colorful decade
with such songs as "My Blue Heaven,"
"Girl of My Dreams," "Old Man River,"
"Stardust," "Tea for Two," "Only a Rose,"
"Valencia," and "Happy Days Are Here
Do you remember?
Ah, yes, and do you remember the om-
inous signs as the 20's faded? The stock
market crashed October 24, 1929, bringing
a fearful panic that caused the depression
of the 1930's.
'ii/^n cou/n^u ^ow/n lo imctM cltu
ISTORY never ends, but books
do. This one is coming to a close.
In the 36 years between 1930 and 1966
Carmi changed from a country town to a
small city. The population rose from 2,998
Flappers and "sheiks" of the Roaring
Twenties are grandparents now. They've
told their children, now tell grandchildren,
of the days gone by — when the New Har-
mony bridge was dedicated in 1930 . . .
jobless men walked the streets in depres-
sion years . . . com fell to 13c a bushel . . .
banks closed ... the WPA, PWA and CCC
pumped money into the economy.
Carmi's three banks reopened after
a holiday; people played miniature golf,
worked jigsaw puzzles, pushed for pro-
gress under Mayors Fred J. Reinwald, Kel-
ley P. Staiger, Jesse Grissom and Dr.
George T. Proctor.
They built two new schools and went
through the decade singing "Night and
Day," "Easter Parade," "Who's Afraid of
the Big, Bad Wolf," "We're in the Money,"
"Love in Bloom," "Pennies from Heaven,"
"A-Tisket A-Tasket," "Beer Barrel Polka"
and "God Bless America."
Business was gradually improving in
the late 30's when — boom !
Oil ! Who would have dreamed that a
billion dollars in petroleum lay under
Excitement ran through Carmi like
summer lightning. Strangers in western
hats and high-heeled boots thronged the
town. The courthouse and streets were
crowded by lease hounds. Abstract offices
and new restaurants opened. In 20 years
6,000 producing wells were completed.
In the midst of this excitement and
prosperity. Pearl Harbor was bombed.
America was at war again.
For four years the casualty lists pour-
ed in. There were war bond drives, scrap
metal campaigns, rationing resti'ictions.
Through the war years C. F. (Bud)
Rebstock was mayor, and he was succeeded
by A. J. (Gus) Brandt.
rVAN A. ELUOTT, SR.
Attorney General of Illinois 1949-195S
In the midst of blood, sweat and tears,
people sacrificed and sang "White Christ-
mas," "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home
To," "Oh, What A Beautiful Morning,"
"Malrzy Doats," "Surrey With the Fringe
on Top," "Cruising Down the River," and
"Sioux City Sue."
Hitler killed himself. Germany sur-
rendered. Atomic bombs brought the Jap-
anese to their knees. Then came the "cold
war" instead of peace and it extended
through war in Korea and Vietnam.
Roy Clippinger was elected to Con-
gress in 1945 and 1947. Harry Truman
came to town campaigning in 1948 and
Ivan A. Elliott, Sr. was elected Dlinois
A modem bridge was built across the
Little Wabash. A new municipal building
was erected at Main and Main Cross
J. Robert Randolph took over as
mayor. He paved streets, enlarged the util-
ity plants, watched Carmi's 1950 popula-
tion of 5,522 rise to over 6,200 before the
Laurence E. Boehringer, a business
man who. was skilled in municipal affairs
after years on the City Council, was elect-
ed mayor in 1964.
The little log village of 1816 was only
Ratcliff Inn — before and after! Dilapidated, decrepit, ill-treated and ugly, Ratcliff Inn was to be razed in 1960 and
the property converted into a parking lot. The White County Historical Society raised enough money by public
subscrfptSon to save the historic buUding where Lincoln lodged in 1840. The Society paid $15,000 for the property
and spent $16,000 restoring the building. On the second floor is the White County Museum. Here members of the
Society hoM their meetings. Two first floor offices are rented. When the property is debt free the entire building
will be used for a museum. Restoring the inn put Carmi on the Lincoln Heritage Trail, and it is visited by many
Caiml's official fla^, deslgTied by James William Henning,
LAURENCE C. BOEHBINGEB
39th Mayor of Carml
Three hundred students in a massed band opened Carmi's Sesquicentennlal February 26 with, a concert, playing for the first ttme
"The Lincoln Heritage Trail," a concert march composed by Professor Paul W. Shahan, of Murray State University.
Hail to the Queen and her court! It was style show and beauty time in Carmi March 5. Three clxapters of Beta
Sigma Phi Sorority and the Home Culture Circle sponsored the event. Celebrating- the 150th birthdays of both
UTilte Coiuity and Camu, all girls of the county were welcomed to compete in the beauty contest. Out-of-county
judges selected these winners: Center, Miss Marcella Tate, Grayville, first; left, Judy King, Carmi, fourth; Shar-
on Wilson, Grayville, second; rig^ht of Queen, Alice Morris, Norris City, third; Martha Morrillv Carmi, fifth.
A Sesquicentennial triumph ! Just before the Easter season started the Sesquicentennial Chorus presented Handel's
"Messiiah" to a capacity audience. The oratorio was directed by John W. Brown. Mrs. Ray McCallister was general
chairman and Miss Dorothy Mann was co-chairman.
See the dam in the Little Wabash? Close by, the cMy utilities pi a
and l)eyond, a residential area of north Carmi.
<' F. Rebstook's plane was about to cross South Church Street
\\ hen he toolt this picture of downtowTi Camu.
The railroad and U. S. 460 meet west of town, showing the plants
of Sterling- Aluminum and Weeks 3Ianufactiiring Co. Beyond, the
blue of Griffith Lake and a residential area.
The high school and athletic fii-ld ilmniiiatt' lliis picture of a sec-
tion of west Carmi. Lower right, College Boulevard of Montgomery
Circles. Upper part shows many residences.
1873 Dr. E. L. Stewart, doctor, drug-
1875 Ross Graham, attorney.
1877 I^roy L. Staley, miller and gro-
1879 Dr. ChrLstian Cook, physician.
1881 Orlando Burrell, contractor,
county judge nine years, sheriff
four years. Congressman two
years, mayor three more years.
1883 George W. Wissinger, druggist.
1885 Frank E. Hay, banker.
1887 Dr. John M. Minick, physician.
1889 Simon Grant, owner of brick
1891 Simon Grant.
1893 George D. Wheatcroft, owner of
1895 Jasper Partridge, attorney.
1897 George C. Ziegler, partner in
barrel and stave factory.
1899 Harvey H. Crozier, grain dealer.
F. M. Parish, attorney.
Claude >1. Barnes, furniture deal-
er, land owner.
Thomas H. Land, grain dealer,
John C. Stokes, manager of tele-
Dr. Frank Sibley, physician.
Dr. Frank Sibley, who resigned
to go to army. Vacancy fille<l on
January 7, 1917, by Rallph Ben-
son, who was in the milling busi-
Tom W. Hall, banker.
Dr. Frank Sibley.
W. F. Elliott, auto dealer.
W. F. Elliott.
Fred J. Reinwald, poultry and
1929 Fred J. Reinwald.
1931 Kelly P. Staiger, photographer.
1932 Je^se Grissom, poultry dealer,
former sheriff, took over Febru-
ar>- 23, 1932, after an election
1933 Kelly P. Staiger.
1935 KeUy P. Staiger.
1937 Dr. George T. Proctor, dentist,
1939 Dr. George T. Proctor.
1941 C. F. >IBud) Rebstock, auto deal-
er, oil and gasoline distributor.
1945 C. F. (Bud) Rebstock.
1919 A. J. Brandt, farm implement
1953 A. J. Brandt.
1957 J. Robert Randolph, engineer,
1961 J. Robert Randolph.
1965 Laurence C. Boehringer, semi-re-
tired business man, auto sales-
CABMI MEN WHO
SERVED IN CONGRESS
Senator John M. Robinson
1831 ■ 1842
Representative John M. Crebs
1869 - 1873
Representative James R. Williams
1889 - 1895 and 1899 - 1905
Representative Orlando Burrell
1895 - 1897
Representative Roy Clippinger
1945 - 1949
COUNTY AND PROBATE
James Ratcliff 1816-1848
Solomon Vories 1848-1852
Reuben Emerson 1852-1856
William P. Garrison 1856-1864
George Williams 1864
William Thomas 1864-1868
Samuel H. Martin 1868-1873
Orlando Burrell 18741882
James R. WiUiams 1882-1886
Benjamin S. Organ 1886-1890
James C. Pearce 1890-1898
John N. Wilson 1898-1906
Thomas G. Parker 1906 1907
Julius C. Kem 1908
John A. Lopp 1909
Julius C. Kem 1909-1914
James M. Endicott 1914-1918
Ulys Pyle 1918-1922
James A. Walsh 19221926
F. M. Parish 1926-1934
C. S. Conger 1934-1942
Charles T. Randolph 1942-1946
Max Endicott 1946-1 964
January 1, 1964 the County Judge
became Associate Circuit Judge.
Max Endicott 1964-
James Ratcliff 1816-1848
Solomon Vories 1848-1856
J. B. Hinde - 1856-1868
John D. Martin 1868-1872
Thomas K. Wilson 18721876
R. F. Stewart 1876-1879
Frank L. Stewart 1880
J. H. Shipley 1880-1881
John D. Martin 1881-1888
George R. WiUiams 1888-1896
John E. Stewart 1896-1900
Charles E. Hill 1900-1908
William Poynton 19081916
Otis Downen 1916-1920
Newt Arbaugh 19201924
Frank McGhee 1924-1940
C. C. Morris 1940-1944
MiUage Carter 1944-1960
J. Gordon Dagley 1960-1964
WiUiam Sharp 1964-
R. S. Graham 1860-1863
J. I. McClintock 1863-1869
Ahart Harsha 1869-1873
James I. McClintock 1877-1885
Commodore White 1885-1891
Thomas Fuller 18911895
Everett McCallister 1895-1907
Val W. Smith 1907-1914
James Smith 1914-1915
Charles Mossberger 1915-1919
D. L. Bovd 1919-1923
R. E. McKinnies 1923-1927
Harry E. Puntney 1927-1939
Hubert Sutton 1939-1951
Walter L. Puckett 1951-1955
Harry E. Puntney 1955-1959
Richard Travis 1959-
Thomas C. Brown
John M. Robinson
Edwin B. Webb
L. J. S. Turney 1851-1852
James S. Robinson 1852-1860
John M. Crebs 1860-1864
Thomas S. Casey 1864-1868
R. W. Townsend 1868-1872
J. I. McClintock 1872-1876
P. A. Pearce 1876-1884
John W. Hon 1884-1888
P. A. Pearce 1888-1892
Francis M. Parish 1892-1896
Isaac Spence 1896-1904
William L. Martin 1908-1912
C. S. Conger, Jr. 1912-1913
Joe A. Pearce 19131920
Charles T. Randolph 1920-1924
Joe A. Pearce 1924-1928
James M. Endicott 1928-1932
H. C. McKinney 1932-1936
Ivan A. Elliott 19361942
Albert McCallister 1942-1948
Kenneth Pearce 1948-1952
William South 1952-1956
Henry Lewis 1956-
John Phipps 1835-1846
Wm. S. Hay 1846-1847
Heni-y P. Anderson 1847-1848
Alex F. Trousdale 1848-1851
R. S. Graham 1851-1860
Daniel Hay 1816-1819
Benjamin R. Smith 1819
John McHenry 1819-1824
James Higginson 1824-1828
George McHenry 1828-1830
David Philips . 18301832
Nathaniel Blackford ., 1832-1834
John McCoun _ _ 1834-1836
Nathaniel Blackford 1836-1838
Milton B. Gowdy 1838-1840
William Little "- 1840-1 844
James T. Ratcliff 18441849
D. Hay 1849-1851
Joseph Meador 1851-1853
J. B. Byram 1853-1857
J. S. Anderson 1857-1859
Thomas J. Renshaw 1859 1863
A. R. Logan 1863-1867
Michael S. Brockett 1867-1869
James B. Allen 1869-1871
B. F. Logan ' 1871-1877
James H. Shipley 1877-1878
E. W. Gaston 1878-1882
A. S. Harsha 1882-1886
Thomas J. Mathews 18901894
L. S. Blue - . . 1894-1898
William A. Raglin 1898-1902
George W. Clark 1902-1906
John Wilson 1906-1910
Jess Grissom 1910-1914
Fred Puntnev 1914-1918
Charles Frazier 1918-1924
Edwin Soence 1924-1926
W. W. WiUiams 1926-1930
Edwin Spence 1930-1933
Martin Ziegler 1933-1934
Paul A. Ziegler 1934-1938
W. L. Gowdy 1938-1942
Baylus Hargrave 1942-1 946
Roscoe Duckworth 1946-1950
Walter Brown 1950-1954
W. D. Morris 19541958
Raymond Spence 1958-1962
J. T. Gwaltnev 1962-
Benjamin R. Smith 1816-1820
Daniel Hay 1820-1824
George B. Hargrave 1824-1830
Hosea Pearce 18301840
John Phipps 1840-1846
John B. Blackford 1846-1848
Abraham C. MiUer 1848-1850
D. G. Hay 1850-1851
George R. Logan 1851-1853
WilUam S. Eubanks 1853-1856
John G. PoweU 1856-1858
T. W. Stone 1858-1860
John G. Powell 1860-1862
T. W. Stone 1862-1864
Thomas J. Renshaw 18641866
J. D. Martin 1866-1868
D. P. Eubanks 1868-1870
Hail Storms 1870-1874
Thomas I. Porter 1874-1878
D. P. Eubanks 1878-1880
Leroy L. Staley 1880-1886
Orlando Burrell 1886-1890
Wyatt WiUiams 18901894
John B. Hutchison 1894-1898
Gene Ackman 1898-1902
Joe Connery 1902-1906
Jess Grissom 1906-1910
Charles Frazier 1910-1914
George Morgan 1914-1918
Charles Gibbs 1918-1922
Oscar PhiUips 19221 926
Jess Grissom 1926-1930
Charles Gibbs 1930-1934
Chester Pyle 1934-1938
Tommy Thomas 1938-1942
Noel McCuUough 1942-1946
Kenneth Cole 1946-1950
J. D. (Bud) Griffith 1950-1954
Kenneth Cole _ 19541958
Norwood F. Proctor 1958-1962
Charles Frazier -..1962-
T. W. Stone 1850-1854
T. R. McClelland 1854-1856
Samuel Moore 1856-1860
E. W. Gaston 1860-1862
Wesley Hilliard 1862-1864
M. M. Doyle 1864-1866
Wesley HiUiard 1866-1874
Gilbert Asbery 1874-1876
Jonas J. Hon 1876-1878
A. G. Foster 1878-1880
William Truex 1880-1892
Barnabas B. York 1892-1896
R. A. Mayhew 1896-1900
James A. Bo.yer 1900-1904
George Staiger 1904-1906
Pierre DeLain 1906-1908
J. A. Boyer 19081920
Clinton Staley 1920-1924
J. A. Boyer 1924-1928
Leroy Stein -. 1928-1932
R. C. Brown 19321936
Leroy Stein 1936-1942
I. E. Turner - - 1942-
W. O. Walker 1942-1944
Herman Kittinger .- 19481956
Milas Cozart 1956-1964
Bernard York - . 1964-
James Ratcliff 1816-1848
Isaac MitcheU 18481851
R. S. Graham _ .1851-1864
John G. PoweU 1864-1870
William H. Pearce 18701880
John R. KuykendaU 1880-1890
WilUam P. Tuley 1890-1899
Edgar Brown 1899-1906
Matthew Martin 1906-1926
Clyde P. Stone 19261933
Raymond Austin 1933-1942
Charles B. Lamp 1942-1954
John L. Whetstone 1954-
When Ccfrmi's Bicentennial is celebrated in the year 2016, eyes will turn to this
page of Cormi's Sesquicentennial book, "Glimpses Down the Decades."
They will see the names of those who sponsored this book by paying $25 each
to help defray the cost of publication. Because of their generosity no advertisements
In appreciation, the Cormi Sesquicentennial Commission dedicates this book
Mrs. Douglas J. Ames, Sr.
Mr. and Mrs. Allen Ball
Mrs. Lizzie Barnes
Mr. and Mrs. Herbert G. Boyley
Mr. and Mrs. Laurence C. Boehringer
Dr. and Mrs. R. C. Brown
Frances Land Calvert
Cormi Nehi Bottling Company
Mr. and Mrs. Otis Dill
Mr. and Mrs. Ivan A. Elliott, Sr.
Mr. and Mrs. Ivan A. Elliott, Jr.
Elizabeth Crebs Evans
Mr. and Mrs. Walter E. Finch
Mr. and Mrs. Charles Frazier
Mr. and Mrs. Hugh K. Hale
Mrs. John O. Hancock and Family
Elizabeth Land Horrell
Mr. and Mrs. Herman Kittinger
Mr. and Mrs. Henry S. Land and Bill
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas S. Land
Mr. and Mrs. Henry Lewis
Flora Blasker Lichtman
Mr. and Mrs. Albert W. McCallister
Mr. and Mrs. Herman Pollard and Wayne
Mrs. Helen Hanna Pearce
Mr. and Mrs. Stewart A. Pearce
The Frank E. Pomeroy Family
Mr. and Mrs. James Madison Pomeroy
M. Pauline Pomeroy
Judge Ulys Pyle
Mr. and Mrs. C. F. Rebstock
Mildred Land Reinwald
Elizabeth Land Smith
Sterling Division of Federal-Mogul
Dr. and Mrs. Edwin Stocke
Ann Land Taylor
Louise Land Twilla
Two Tony's Smorgasbord
East Main Street, Carmi
Mr. and Mrs. Henry J. Wallace
Mr. and Mrs. Ivan White
Williams Amusement Company
Senator and Mrs. Paul A. Ziegler
TIMES TO REMEMBER
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 26,
Carmi Township High School —
White County Massed Band Festival,
with 300 high school and junior high
musicians from Grayville, Crossville,
Norris City, Omaha, Enfield and
Cormi. Premiere performance of the
"Lincoln Heritage Trail" concert
march composed for Carmi's Sesqui-
SATURDAY, MARCH 5, Wash-
ington School gymnasium — Style
show with old and new fashions,
sponsored by three chapters of Beta
Sigma Phi Sorority and the Home
Culture Circle; beauty contest to
choose the Sesquicentennial Queen,
Miss Marcella Tate, of Grayville.
SUNDAY, MARCH 27, Washing-
ton School gymnasium — Community
presentation of "The Messiah" two
weeks before Easter, with over 100
voices and 15 members of the Evans-
ville Philharmonic Orchestra. John
W. Brown, director, Mrs. Ray McCal-
lister, general chairman. Miss Doro-
thy Mann, co-chairman.
MAY 13-15 — Spring convention
of the Illinois State Historical Society,
with tours, receptions and banquets.
Principal speaker, Chet Huntley, of
MONDAY, JULY 4— All-day cele-
bration of old-fashioned Fourth of
July at White County Fairgrounds.
Sponsored by Carmi Civil Defense.
Festivities and barbecue all day,
with fireworks display at night.
SATURDAY & SUNDAY, AU-
GUST 13 and 14— Old-time thresher-
men's reunion at White County Fair-
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 17 —
Special Sesquicentennial show at
White County Fair, headlined by Jo
Ann Castle of the Lawrence Welk
FRIDAY 5c SATURDAY, OCTO-
BER 14 AND 15 — Fall festival with
shows, tours, contests, climaxed by
Kiwanis Corn Day and historical
CARMI TIMES PRINT